Based on a friend's recommendation, the 5 star reviews on TripAdviser, and a phone conversation with Karl the owner, I decided to book 4 nights at the Swiss Health Resort for my girlfriend and I. During my phone conversation with Karl I explained that we were looking for a *quiet room,* and one of their nicest rooms. I wasn't concerned about spending more money for the "best" room - I haven't had a vacation in over a year and a half, and have never taken my girlfriend on a vacation, so I was looking for something special, and relaxing. Note: relaxing.
During our phone conversation Karl suggested room #1 - their largest suite. He said it was not near the other units (e.g., less neighbor noise) and that it was close to the parking lot. I asked if being next to the parking lot meant their would be any kind of traffic noise - I explained that I really wanted quiet. He said not really and that the windows were double paned. I was a little leery of this, and asked if we could move to another unit if I found the traffic noise or parking lot noise to be too loud. He said yes.
We also asked that our bedding and towels be washed in a nontoxic detergent since we have chemical sensitivities (and I even offered to pay for them to go get some at a local health food store). They agreed to use Arm and Hammer detergent - something they already had - not the best option (it is not a nontoxic detergent), but we decided to go with it.
We arrived around 5 or 6 pm on Saturday evening, and we met Karl. He was nice enough. The first thing I noticed that across the street the neighbors were blaring loud music, which we could hear inside our unit, and also in the pool area. Really? We were not off to a good start already in terms of peace and quiet (I would later find out from another guest who has been to the spa over the years that there is often loud music coming from across the street).
But then, what I really noticed, was all of the traffic buzzing by on the road right outside our windows. The street is a fairly busy street, and our entire unit, especially the bedroom, was *very noisy* with traffic noise. The double-paned windows? A misleading statement - they may have two thin sheets of glass, but they were not sound reducing double paned windows. I have double paned windows in my apartment - they actually reduce noise by quite a bit. But the windows on unit 1 where we were did virtually nothing to reduce noise.
Which brings me to my first complaint: Karl and Ursula have owned the property for over 20 years - they *absolutely should know their units* and should know that you can hear - loudly - traffic noise in unit #1. I wore ear plugs when I went to bed and I could still hear the traffic and feel the rumble of the larger vehicles as they whizzed by! Wow - so NOT what I was expecting or needing! My girlfriend was also appalled at how loud the traffic noise was considering I specifically requested that we not be in a noisy room.
The unit was large, and clean (the entire property is clean - except the turtle pond), but the furniture was outdated. There was a very large cockroach that ran across the kitchen floor, and although there were plenty of dishware for our use (we brought a ton of food), some of it had mouse poop on it so we had to wash those dishes before use.
My girlfriend felt as though the property didn't have enough "beauty" around, and was aghast that the drinking water came out of a hose (as opposed to a faucet) that looked like it was 20 years old.
The next day (Sunday) we decided we should go look at other hot spring locations, and on our way out met Ursula (owner), who asked how everything was going. We explained that we had rough night sleeping, and that we planned to go out and look at some other hot springs, and she said we would not get our money back if we left. She did show us two other rooms that were available: both had twin/full beds (our suite had a king bed) and that didn't work for me.
My girlfriend and I looked at a couple other properties (El Morocco Inn & Spa and Hacienda Hot Springs Inn) and neither really had what we were looking for that would work for the next three nights. However, the manager at the El Morocco (a nice place) did suggest we take a look at the Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa because she thought that was more in alignment of what we were looking for. However, we were burned out and decided to go back to the Swiss Health Resort and deal with the situation.
We were back in our room for a while and I swam in the pool area (which is decent) and then went back into our room. And then, the traffic noise just was relentless. Cars and trucks rumbling by and I just wanted to pull my hair out, and of course, this stress wasn't making the vacation any fun at all. So we went to the Tuscan Hot Spings Hotel & Spa in the evening, and the moment we walked in, we felt at peace and "at home." After some discussion, we decided our vacation was more important than the lost money, and we booked two nights at the Tuscan. We packed up the essentials and stayed the next two nights there. We would have stayed all three nights but they already had remodel plans for Tuesday, so it was just two nights.
The Tuscan Springs Hotel and Spa was the best! Exactly what we were looking for: a quiet room with modern furnishings and amazing therapeutic waters. I wrote a review on TripAdviser if you want to know more about that spa - I highly recommend it!
We went back to the Swiss Health Resort after our time at the Tuscan Springs and we planned to just stay there that evening and go the next morning. Didn't happen. Again, that traffic noise was just too much - neither of us could relax. So we went over to the Hacienda Hot Springs Inn and booked a night there, and completely checked out of our Swiss Health resort room. Our room was very quiet during our stay at the Hacienda.
I did ask Karl and Ursula if they would refund 50% of our $705, but they said no. The additional rooms at the other two spas was another $630, so, yes, this was an expensive vacation, but we are glad we left the Swiss Health Resort even though we knew it was improbable we would get any money back.
The fundamental two issues I have with Karl and Ursula are that 1) they should know their property and absolutely have known that unit 1 has loud traffic noise in it and therefore should NEVER have booked us into that room once I shared we wanted a quiet room, and 2) once we were there they should have been more flexible about giving a refund if we were not happy with their property. As far as I am concerned, this is a massive fail in terms of just doing good business with customers. If we aren't happy, we aren't happy. If they bought a product for $700 and they didn't get what they expected, I am quite positive they would have requested a refund. And so for this reason, they get a 1 star for poor customer service.
Based on what we saw while there, I think the Swiss Health Spa is for senior citizens on a budget who don't mind traffic noise.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Swiss Health Resort is a small charming boutique spa hotel with spectacular mountain and desert views; shimmering natural hot mineral water pools; large, comfortably furnished rooms with kitchens, cable, and dsl; spa services, including Watsu water massage; and daily morning guided hikes for hotel guests along nearby desert trails. A beautiful, clean, quiet and friendly place to relax, only a short drive from downtown Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Swiss Health Hotel Desert Hot Springs
- Swiss Health Resort Desert Hot Springs, CA